Psychological Mechanisms of Xenophobia

Author: Galina SOLDATOVA

In our day and age, as always, man persists in drawing visible and invisible boundaries, thus separating himself from other worlds and people and coping with fears they generate. In a concentrated form these fears are expressed by the word "foe" that continues to scare mankind from time immemorial. The meaning, with which this word is invested, is not always the same. If, along with suspicion, Foe is causing an ambivalent feeling of interest and curiosity, he is more likely Other than Foe. He simultaneously attracts and repels us. In itself, this emotional ambivalence is not negative, and Foe-Other always has a chance to become Friend.

But more often it is fear that prevails in attitudes to Foe. After all, people have always been wary of things incomprehensible, unknown or unfamiliar. Erich Fro mm wrote in his well-known book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness that things other than your own, while being of certain interest, simultaneously cause fear, suspicion and negation, for they call for non-ordinary solutions. In this case, Foe acquires a negative coloration because, being placed in our system of coordinates, it fails to respond to the tested methods of perception, interpretation and behavior.1 Then Foe is filled with specific concreteness, differing in habits, values and views, and thus becomes Foreigner, not Other, which means someone remote and having nothing in common with anyone or anything, a foreign body. This is why Foes-Foreigners are usually avoided; they are seen as causing problems and disasters, often regarded as enemies, and hated. And if the rational human feeling of fear in the presence of something unknown takes this turn, it is nothing else than xenophobia, a kind of fear provoked by foreigners, a dislike of and hostility to Foreigners, separate individuals and whole groups that are different from us.

The present-day scientific literature is paying surprisingly little attention to problems of xenophobia. In Russia, journalists ...

This is an article from EVXpress, a service of East View Information Services that allows you to search across more than 12 million journals and news publications for fee and immediately download full text using your credit card.
Price: $25.00
Delivery: immediate download or e-mail attachment
This content appears in EVXpress under license from the publisher. Inquiries regarding the content should be directed to the publisher directly.